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Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight's metrical pattern

Ruth Fainlights form of scansion reveals to the readers her preference for using Iambic pentameters and some Iambic Tetrameters.  She emphasizes on the ending words in lines 3,5,7, 9,10,11,13 and 16, she gives the readers a sense of how disturbing and mutalating this tradition was for woman in those times.  These words on their own can tell a tale without even having to read the rest of the poem; "silk..,leather..,ankle..,surely..,twisted..,woman..,how..,feet" can give the readers a vivid picture of the traditiional feet binding traditions. 
Fainlights use of words throughout the poem is in a uniform matter.  Her rhythm in this poem is somewhat predictable and shows us the importance in demonstrating the crippling effect that feet binding had through her vivid use of words and scansion.
Ruth Fainlight
Flower Feet
Real women's/ feet wore/ these objects    3
that look/ like toys/ or spec/ tacle cases/ stitched    5
from bands/ of coral,/ jade/ and apricot/ silk       5
embroidered/ with twined/ sprays/ of flowers.   4
Those hearts,/ tongues,/ crescents,/ and disks,/ leather  5
shapes/ an inch/ across,/ are the soles/ of shoes   5
no wider/ or longer/ than the/ span/ of my/ ankle.  5
If the feet/ had been/ cut off/ and the/ raw stumps   5
thrust inside/ the openings,/ surely    3
it could/ not hurt/ more than/ broken toes,/ twisted   5
back and/ bandaged/ tight./ An old/ woman,   5
leaning on/ a cane/ outside/ her door 4
in a chinese/ village, smiled/ to tell/ how   4
she fought/ and cried,/ how when/ she stood/ on points  5
of pain/ that gnawed/ like fire,/ nurse/ and mother   5
praised her/ tottering walk/ on flower/ feet.   4
Her friends/ nodded,/ glad/ the times/ had changed.   5
Otherwise,/ they would/ have crippled/ their daughters. 4  



Rhythm | Ruth Fainlight Biography and Links | Week 11 and links to web sites. | History of Chinese Foot Binding | Tone; Images; word choice/order; speech | Symbol, Allegory, Irony | Rhyme, Assonance, Alliteration

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